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Date: Thu, 5 Dec 1996 21:39:32 -0800 (PST)
From: Robert Corbett <bcorbett@netcom.com>
Subject: (fwd) NEWS FLASH - UN Haiti Mission to End In 6 - 8 Months
To: Bob Corbett <bcorbett@netcom.com>
Message-ID: <Pine.3.89.9612052142.A4931-0100000@netcom21>

From: haiconsul@aol.com
Newsgroups: soc.culture.haiti
Date: 5 Dec 1996 04:28:37 GMT

UN Haiti Mission to end in 6 - 8 months

By Evelyn Leopold, Reuters, 4 December 1996

UNITED NATIONS, Dec 4 (Reuter) - At the insistence of Russia and China, the United Nations will shut down its military and police mission in Haiti in 6 to 8 months, according to a draft resolution to be adopted on Thursday.

The Security Council document, worked out by the United States, Canada and other members, said the operation would be extended for another six months, until May 31. But it left open a final renewal until July 31, depending on a report from the U.N. secretary-general by the end of March.

Currently, there are 1,300 troops and close to 300 civilian police. Half of the troops are financed by Canada and the United States rather than by all U.N. members.

The new resolution cut the number of troops by 100 and diplomats said Canada might again make up the difference.

It was not clear whether all foreign troops would leave Haiti next year. Canada, which is fielding more than 700 soldiers, might decide to keep a contingent there on a bilateral basis, depending on the situation in Haiti and on availability of funds, the envoys said.

The current U.N. mandate expired last Friday and was extended by six days to allow for negotiations. Russia had insisted that a date be set for the end of the military part of the mission while China wanted it renewed for no more than five months.

Moscow has frequently objected to keeping troops in the U.S. sphere of influence when the council rejected similar requests for peacekeepers in the former Soviet republics of Georgia and Tajikistan.

China has a history of challenging the entire operation because of Haiti's ties with Taiwan, which it considers a renegade province, despite a marked improvement in relations between Beijing and the impoverished Caribbean nation.

Last February China threatened to veto the military force in Haiti unless its numbers were reduced, prompting Canada to rescue the mission by paying for its own troops for six months.

In June, the United States as well as Canada helped pay for the Canadian and Pakistani troops.

One of the operation's main tasks is to train and monitor Haiti's fledgling police, which replaced the previous paramilitary contingents loyal to the military junta that overthrew elected President Jean-Bertrand Aristide in 1991.

He was restored to power three years later by a U.S.-led 22,000-member multinational force. The United Nations took over peacekeeping in March 1995 with 6,000 troops, a number which has been steadily reduced since then.